AppData – what lies in this mysterious directory and how to get rid of all the junk in it
Windows operating system hides many secrets, but some are more interesting than others, and if you will undertake to work them out, you can gain a distinct advantage.
Take, for example, the catalog that first appeared in Windows Vista and in whose existence few suspects. The reason is that it is hidden from the eyes of users, as it holds extremely important system information. But understanding its nature can help you save precious disk space on your primary partition and possibly improve the performance of the entire system.
AppData (or Application Data) is hidden (default) system folder, a subdirectory in the Users folder with personal files of all registered users. The folder contains all the information generated by the installed programs on the computer and are invisible to users because (at least in theory) the stored files should not be of any interest.
However, the reality is often at odds with the original intent of Microsoft. Prolonged and active use of Windows without reinstalling the system the size of this folder will grow rapidly and soon you may be faced with lack of space on the system partition – especially if you use the SSD device is a relatively modest amount, where every megabyte matters.
Now let’s consider the structure of AppData and find out which of the files stored in this folder are critical and which are not.
As already mentioned, AppData is hidden by default, so to get to it, you will need to change some Windows system settings. To do this, open «control Panel» and go to «appearance and personalization». Open the dialog «folder Options» and the tab «View» in the settings list find the option «Hidden files and folders». Now just change the default settings («don’t show hidden files, folders, and drives») to «Show hidden files, folders, and drives».
This will make AppData visible not only, but a number of other system directories and files as well as files and folders that were hidden by you.
AppData is located in the folder C:Users, but please note that each registered user has their own AppData directory, so look for the folder in the directory with your username.
By default, this directory contains three subfolders: Local, LocalLow and Roaming. Each of them stores data of various profiles.
Local contains the files created in the process of installed programs. This information is strictly specific to the user’s computer and cannot be moved to the new machine. Here you will find a folder named Microsoft that contains a history of all activity Windows.
In Local is the folder with temporary files (Temp) created at the time of the various applications. Its contents can safely remove completely, because very often these records are unnecessary and only take up space on the disk.
Folder Roaming stores certain user files that can be transferred from computer to computer.
Folder LocalLow designed primarily to buffer data generated by Internet Explorer, Java, and programs from Adobe.
Very often in these subdirectories AppData accumulated quite a lot of software «waste», which over time can grow to incredible sizes. To clean the system from all of these junk files are not necessary to go into the depths of AppData. To the folder with temporary files, which must be removed, and can be reached more easily.
If in the Windows Explorer address bar write shell:history and press Enter, you will immediately find yourself in a folder with the history of Internet Explorer. shell:cache opens the directory with the offline browser, shell:cookies shows all recorded cookies and shell:sendto you can remove and add shortcuts in the menu «Send».
If you want to explore in more detail the contents of the AppData folder, it is invaluable in that you can bring a small but powerful tool is WinDirStat. It quickly scans your hard drive, and then visualizes the distribution of recorded files in very attractive graphical form, so you can easily navigate if one or a large group of similar files takes up too much space.
Well, the easiest and best way to clean not only the AppData, but all the junk on the hard disk remains in a periodic system scan is CCleaner from Piriform.